Mini Messi set to dazzle in SSE Women's FA Cup Final


The SSE Women's FA Cup final is set to see a record crowd as Chelsea Ladies and Arsenal Ladies battle for Wembley glory on Saturday.

A host of England internationals will be involved, as the first silverware of the women's season comes up for grabs.

Emma Hayes poses with the Women's FA Cup trophy at Wemblety

Chelsea are defending their league and FA Cup titles this term. In Emma Hayes they have one of just two female managers in the women's top flight. Arsenal are bossed by Spaniard Pedro Martinez Losa.

Here, we take a look at the contest.

We hear this is a big deal. So why will Wembley be half-empty?

Arsenal Ladies celebrate after winning the FA Cup

Look at it that way if you like, but don't ignore that the expected 33,000-plus crowd is an astonishing improvement on the 4,988 that saw Arsenal crush Bristol 3-0 in the 2013 final. That game was played in Doncaster, but the Football Association and the sponsors have since pushed the match on to the biggest stage in English football. Consider too that each club typically attracts under 2,000 fans to home games, and that the match has become a honey pot attracting supporters from across the women's game.

So where can we see it?

You could cough up £15 for an adult ticket, and take children along for free. Or it's on BBC One from 1.30pm.

But isn't the women's game a bit of a joke?

You're the one who must be kidding. Remember the World Cup run last summer, and how the Lionesses won the nation's affections? Well, a host of England's heroes from Canada 2015 will be in action on Saturday, including the Lionesses' penalty ace Fara Williams, who stars in the Arsenal midfield, and Chelsea's young striker Fran Kirby.

We've heard of Kirby. Wasn't she nicknamed 'Mini Messi' during the World Cup?

That's right. The tag was bestowed upon her by England boss Mark Sampson after a classy strike against Mexico. It maybe sat uncomfortably for a while, but take a look at the video above of her stupendous solo effort against Liverpool last weekend and you'll see what Sampson was digging at. It was straight out of the Messi copybook from the 22-year-old, who also scored both of Chelsea's goals in a recent 2-0 league win over Arsenal.

It's nothing Diego Costa couldn't do.

Chelsea striker Diego Costa looks angry during a game

He hasn't come close to such a strike this season. Really, watch the video again.

So who'll win, and what's the long-term vision?

Chelsea start as strong favourites. They have made a 100 per cent start to their league campaign, and are benefiting from owner Roman Abramovich and chairman Bruce Buck throwing their backing behind the team. The FA believes Women's Premier League games could draw crowds of 3,000-5,000 on a regular basis in five years' time.

What would John Terry say?

John Terry celebrates Chelsea's Champions League win in 2012

He's a big Chelsea Ladies fan; he's the club president. Don't expect to see him in full kit if the team carry off the trophy though.